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Beyond Stereotypes: Quiz Answers

1.  Most homeless people live __________.

ANSWER: In a combination of places. "The majority of homeless people are not street homeless," said Reeve Vanneman, a sociology professor at the University of Maryland. “They’re in shelters or places where we don’t see them as much.” Many homeless people shuffle between living arrangements. Maryland shelters served 37,432 people—some were sheltered more than once— in the fiscal year that ended in 2006, according to an annual report from Maryland’s Office of Transitional Services. The number sheltered is more than four times the approximately 8,000 homeless people that the National Alliance to End Homelessness counted in Maryland for a report released in January 2007.

2.  When they have a health problem, homeless people are most likely to __________.

ANSWER: Ignore the problem. "What we find with homeless folks is, more often than not, they won’t go and see a doctor," said Kevin Lindamood, spokesman for Healthcare for the Homeless. "So by the time that we engage them, they are very ill." Many homeless people have health problems that are only exacerbated by drifting without a home. About a third of the 11,000 Marylanders Lindamood’s organization provided services to last year had bipolar disorder, schizophrenia or another mental illness. The homeless, even those who are relatively healthy, may live on the street, where they’re more likely to be a victim of a crime, or in a packed shelter, where communicable conditions, such as colds, spread quickly, Lindamood said. Simple good health practices, such as eating a healthful diet and taking prescribed drugs, become a struggle.

3.  The majority of homeless people on the street are men. Is the same true in shelters? Of the 25,150 adults Maryland shelters served in FY2006, __________ were women.

ANSWER: 40 percent. Shelters reported to the state that they served 10,010 women and 15,140 men, according to the report from Maryland’s Office of Transitional Services. The percentage of women is higher—48 percent—when numbers from Baltimore City, where most of the state’s homeless are concentrated, are left out.

4.  Most of the homeless people sheltered in Maryland in FY2006 were of __________ ethnicity.

ANSWER: African American. In Maryland, almost twice as many black people—18,699—as white people—9,806—are sheltered homeless. Another 1,220 homeless people are Hispanic, according to the 2006 Annual Report on Homelessness Services in Maryland produced by the state.

5. Most of the homeless people Maryland sheltered in FY2006 were __________.

ANSWER: Middle-aged. The state report on homeless people served in FY2006 shows that about 46 percent, or 13,984 people, were ages 31-50. About 29 percent, or 8,830 people, were 17 or younger. Nineteen percent, or 5,913 people, were ages 18-30; about 4 percent, or 1,170 people, were ages 51-61; and 2 percent, or 605 people, were 62 or older.

6.  The National Alliance to End Homelessness says 480,654 veterans lived in Maryland in 2005. __________ percent of them were homeless.

ANSWER: 0.64 percent. Thirty-one hundred of the state’s 480,654 veterans were homeless in 2005, according to the National Alliance to End Homelessness’ November 2007 report, "Vital Mission: Ending Homelessness Among Veterans."

7.  Homeless people always have some place to stay, right? Wrong. According to the state, Maryland shelters turned away __________ people in the fiscal year that ended in 2006.

ANSWER: 34,191. The number is down by 4,326 from the previous year, according to a report from Maryland’s Office of Transitional Services. The juridictions that turned away people the most included Baltimore City, 11,312; Baltimore County, 7,636; and Charles County, 3,718.

8.  Despite the numerous organizations dedicated to helping them, homeless people in Baltimore City will find __________ at shelters than they did in 2004.

ANSWER: Fewer beds. The number of shelter beds dropped from 2,439 in 2004 to 2,260 in 2006, according to the state report. Later numbers could show further decline in the number of beds available for the almost 3,000 homeless people in Baltimore City that the National Alliance to End Homelessness counted in a January 2007 report. At least two Baltimore shelters have closed since then, Capital News Service reported, although city officials expected to add 64 beds by 2008.

--Raechal Leone


Banner graphic by Hortense Barber and Diego Mantilla; banner photos are courtesy of Greg Sileo.

Copyright © 2007 University of Maryland Philip Merrill College of Journalism

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